David Babb, Course Instructor
I came to love weather rather early in life. Growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I used to marvel at the squall-lines that came through during the summer. When I was sixteen, my family spent a year on a sailboat cruising around inland river systems, the East Coast, and Bahamas. We weathered Hurricane Gloria, saw steam devils on the Tennessee River, had waterspouts on Lake Ontario, and experienced many other kinds of weather phenomena. This experience sealed my fate as a meteorologist. I also learned first hand how important understanding and forecasting the weather can be (especially for mariners).
By the time I attended college at the University of Kansas, I had decided to make a career out of studying the atmosphere. My real enthusiasm at the time was centered on tornado-chasing which I did as often as possible, and led to summer internships at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. After completing my Bachelor's degree, I attended Penn State where I received my Doctorate in Atmospheric Science, studying radar measurements of clouds and precipitation. Over the course of my career, I have held many different positions including researcher, instructor, meteorological consultant, and instructional designer. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Meteorology here at Penn State. I also serve as a Fellow in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute which promotes the development of high quality online education initiatives like the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting.
When not at work, which usually involves being online, I try to satisfy my glass addiction. I have been blowing glass for nearly ten year. Off-hand glass blowing uses a blowpipe to make much larger pieces such as vases, bowls, and goblets. Here are a few photos of me making a vase (photo 1; photo 2).
Like many meteorologists, I am also a "weather weenie". I am always pulling over on the highway to take a picture of some cloud or optical phenomenon. I am simply amazed by the complexity and diversity of what I observe going on in the atmosphere (check out the picture of frost on the right). I hope that throughout this course you begin to appreciate some of this complexity and beauty that the atmosphere provides us. Take some time every day to stop and look up at the clouds, become aware of the weather around you, look for patterns in what you observe, and try to figure out what's going on. I'm confident that you'll be rewarded.